Customer endorsements are an inexpensive and easy sales tool, particularly for someone just starting out. Here are some tips on how to get them and use them:
- Send follow-up letters. Two to four weeks after working with a customer, send a survey letter or postcard. Be sure to leave space for them to write in their own words what they liked best about your company, product or service. Don't forget to pay for the postage so they can easily return it to you.
- Check your files. Look for recent letters from satisfied customers. You may be able to use excerpts in your sales literature. But make sure you first get written permission from the person who sent the letter.
- Ask to edit. When getting written permission, ask to edit your customers' remarks. Responses may be too long for your promotional material, or contain irrelevant information.
- Focus on benefits. If you have a choice, use testimonials that stress benefits rather than general remarks. ("Your software allowed me to target 40 percent more prospects in half the time" vs. "I liked dealing with your company.") You can help solicit these types of remarks by asking customers in the survey how your company helped them do their jobs better.
- Ask to use their names. Anonymous testimonials are better than nothing, but they may appear to be made up. A person's name and company name (you don't need the street address) adds authenticity.
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